This weekend's box office was won by Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures’ “The Grinch,” which opened above expectations with $66 million, according to figures from measurement firm Comscore.
The film, which analysts predicted would gross between $52 million and $65 million, cost about $75 million to make. It split audiences and critics with an A- rating on CinemaScore and a 55% “rotten” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
Dr. Seuss’ stories often translate to box office gold: 2012’s “The Lorax” opened with $70.2 million, 2008's “Horton Hears a Who!” opened with $45 million and 2000's live-action "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" starring Jim Carrey made $55 million in its opening weekend before going on to gross $260 million domestically, despite lackluster reviews.
In second place, Fox's “Bohemian Rhapsody,” now in its second weekend, added $30.8 million in domestic receipts for a cumulative $100 million.
Paramount's horror-action thriller "Overlord" debuted at No. 3 with $10.1 million, on the low end of analysts' predictions of $10 million to $13 million.
The $38-million film, the latest from producer J.J. Abrams, follows a team of American soldiers in World War II who go up against monstrous creatures the Germans have experimented on. It earned a B rating on CinemaScore and a surprising 81% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Disney's “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” continued to disappoint in its second week, finishing fourth, adding $9.6 million in ticket sales for a cumulative $35.2 million. The fantasy has fared better overseas, with a global total of $96.7 million.
Rounding out the top five, Sony’s “The Girl In the Spider's Web” opened with $8 million, on the low side of analysts’ predictions of $8 million to $10 million.
A sequel to David Fincher’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which opened with $12.8 million in 2011, “Spider's Web" is based on a novel written and published as a follow-up to Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy after the author's death.
Directed by Fede Alvarez (“Don’t Breathe”), it cost an estimated $43 million to make and divided audiences and critics with a B rating on CinemaScore and a 43% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In limited release, the studio opened "The Front Runner" in four locations on Tuesday, earning $56,000 this weekend and $76,000 through Sunday, a poor result.
The film stars Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart, the titular front runner for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination before his extramarital affair was exposed. It earned a 62% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Focus Features expanded “Boy Erased” into 77 theaters in its second weekend, earning $725,000, a respectable per-screen average of $9,416.
Next week, Warner Bros. unveils the fantasy “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” Paramount debuts the comedy “Instant Family” and Fox opens the crime thriller “Widows.” Universal premieres the comedy/drama “Green Book” in limited release.